Louisville linebacker James Burgess visited four teams, worked out for third of the league

Louisville linebacker James Burgess visited four teams officially and worked out for roughly a third of the NFL, according to a league source. Burgess has flown under the radar and is regarded as one of the bigger NFL scouting combine snubs. He has drawn interest from 3-4 and 4-3 teams. Burgess had 10 tackles for losses as a junior and 9 1/2 as a senior. He was a third-team all-conference selection who finished with seven career interceptions and 13 pass breakups. Burgess' father played for the San Diego Chargers and the University of Miami. His uncle, Willie Middlebrooks, was a Denver Broncos first-round draft pick. Burgess ran the 40-yard dash in 4.61 seconds with a 32 1/2 inch vertical leap, a 10-1 broad jump, a 4.47 short shuttle, a 7.06 three-cone drill and bench pressed 225 pounds 21 times. Burgess intercepted Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston in 2014. He has 19 passes defended over the last three seasons. He intercepted Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson last season. Follow me on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle.

Weaknesses

Small for the position with questionable play toughness. Lack of physicality against the run showed up with 12 broken tackles and 32 missed tackles during three years as starter. Lacks decisiveness and play strength in attacking runs between the tackles. Run around linebacker losing gap leverage because of it. Too easily engulfed by linemen. Able to flow quickly to the ball when he diagnoses it, but his instincts are marginal at best. Will go under blocks and lose pursuit angles. Average awareness in space as zone defender.

Bottom Line

Three-year starter lacking the size and toughness to win against the run, but above average production and man cover talent against the pass. The tape shows a player who is too often confused and out of position to be relied upon as a starter, but his pursuit speed and ability in the passing game gives him a shot at making a roster as an outside linebacker if he can prove to be a special teams winner.
Aaron Wilson
Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post, his second stint at the Post. He has previously written for Pro Football Talk and FOX Sports-Scout. Entering his 13th year covering the Baltimore Ravens, he's a beat writer for The Baltimore Sun. Wilson has also covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans.

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